What are the Different Types of Cognitive Biases?

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  • Written By: Marisa O'Connor
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 08 June 2019
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There are quite a few types of cognitive biases that have been identified by the science of psychology. These biases are described as short cuts in thinking that are the result of errors in statistical judgment, memory, and social attribution. Cognitive dissonance, illusory correlation, and an egocentric bias are a few examples. Other examples of cognitive bias include hot and cold cognition.

Cognitive dissonance is one of the most well known types of biases. Cognitive dissonance is very common, and just about everyone has experienced it at least once in their lives. It is the feeling of tension or anxiety that is caused by holding two opposing beliefs or thoughts at the same time. A common example of this type of bias is when a person holds a certain belief about himself, such as I am honest, but acts in a dishonest way.

Illusory correlation is another one of the more commonly known types of biases. As its name indicates, illusory correlation describes a situation where someone perceives a correlation, or relationship between two variables, when there is little or no relationship between the variables in reality. Obsessive compulsive disorder is an extreme example of this type of bias. People with obsessive compulsive disorder will often repeat the same behaviors over and over because they hold an illusory correlation that such behavior will prevent some negative side effect. In reality, however, the repeated behavior has no effect on whether something bad will happen.


Another one of the cognitive biases is called an egocentric bias. This bias describes someone who takes too much credit for the outcome of a joint effort. It usually shows up when people take too much credit for positive outcomes, but it can also occur when people take too much responsibility for a negative outcome. This bias is believed to be the result of a person's own actions being more prominent in her mind than the actions of others.

Hot cognition is a newer term for certain types of biases. This type of bias is based on the mood of the person making decisions. Someone in a heightened state of emotion, such as anger, fear, and even joy, can make errors in judgment based on his or her emotional state. In the case of hot cognition, a person may make a decision too quickly, without the proper amount of reflection.

Cold cognition is also a relatively new type of cognitive bias. It is the complementary cognitive bias of hot cognition. Just as hot cognition describes decision making affected by heightened emotional states, cold cognition occurs when a person makes a decision while experiencing very little emotion. This type of low-energy and attention decision making is also problematic. Instead of making decisions too fast and while emotionally charged, a person experiencing cold cognition make decisions based on little reflection because of lack of interest.


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Post 1

What about these types of cognitive biases: Prior hypothesis; representativeness; Illusion of control; escalating commitment.

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